TOLEDO, OHIO, April 22, 2024 — Heart disease is recognized as the leading cause of death in Toledo-Lucas County for the past five years[1]. While genetics can influence an individual’s health outcomes, social risk factors – or the conditions where people live, learn, work and play – adversely affect a wide range of outcomes[2].

Aiming to address these social drivers of health, the American Heart Association, celebrating 100 years of lifesaving service, is opening its Social Impact Funds to local organizations and social enterprises in Toledo for the first time. The Funds were designed to reduce social and economic barriers preventing longer, healthier lives in communities nationwide. Specifically the Funds support local entrepreneurs working at the community level to measurably  increase equitable access to health and health care, economic empowerment and food security.

“Many social impact entrepreneurs lack the resources and funding they need to grow successfully,” said Mindy Hartwick, executive director for the American Heart Association in Toledo. “Support from the Association’s Social Impact Funds aims to help community-based enterprises scale their businesses to build solutions and positively impact the Toledo community to ensure better health outcomes for all.”

The funding opportunity is part of FirstEnergy Foundation’s multi-year “Investing with Purpose” initiative that helps communities served by FirstEnergy’s electric companies. Toledo, Ohio is the third community to receive FirstEnergy funding following Reading, Pennsylvania in 2021 and Morgantown, West Virginia in 2022.

“Like the American Heart Association’s Social Impact Funds, FirstEnergy Foundation’s ‘Investing with Purpose’ initiative aims to address health, financial and educational barriers affecting communities,” said FirstEnergy Foundation President Lorna Wisham. “We are excited to continue our support of the Association’s Social Impact Funds to ensure more organizations and social enterprises in Toledo have the resources they need to drive change and achieve a healthier community.”

Local Toledo organizations are invited to submit formal expressions of interest before 5:00 p.m. ET on May 23, 2024. Applicants can be at any business stage and can be non-profit or for-profit social enterprises. A governance committee comprised of key American Heart Association volunteers and staff executives review all funding requests. Selections are focused on three key criteria – demonstrated ability to drive change in under-resourced communities, an organic connection to the community itself and an ability to scale for maximum health impact.

A virtual “town hall” information session will be held at 10:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 2, 2024. Community members and American Heart Association staff will discuss local challenges and opportunities related to ensuring access to equitable health across Toledo. Register here to join the online discussion.

Since launching in 2018, the American Heart Association’s Social Impact Funds have supported more than 130 local social enterprises across the country.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 – our Centennial year – we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact, our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

For Media Inquiries:

Katie Kwapich, 419-260-5808,

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and